Members: Adam Deitch (drums), Ryan Zoidis (saxophone), Adam 'Shmeeans' Smirnoff (guitar), Erick 'Jesus' Coomes (bass), Nigel Hall (keyboards/vocals), Eric 'Benny' Bloom (trumpet)
Interviewees: Adam Deitch with a little help from Ryan Zoidis, and Erick "Jesus" Coomes
Recent release: The new Lettuce album Unify is out via Round Hill.
Recommendations: Slum Village: Fantastic Vol 2 . Instrumentals // Alice Coltrane: Universal Consciousness // Floating Points featuring Pharoahe Sanders: Promises // The Emotions: Rejoice [Ryan Zoidis]
If you enjoyed this interview with Lettuce and would like to find out more about them and their music, visit the band's official website. They are also on Instagram, Facebook, twitter, and Soundcloud.
When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences?
Adam Deitch: I began writing on my dads musical equipment around 11 years old. I had a music store of instruments in the basement to choose from. Pretty lucky kid.
What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
Adam Deitch: The energy and power of funk music hooked me at 5 years old. My parents were and still are very excited about music and loved sharing records with me at a young age.
When I listen to music, I see shapes, objects and colours. What happens in your body when you're listening and how does it influence your approach to creativity?
Adam Deitch: I feel a rush of excitement similar to being on a rollercoaster as a kid. Music is high level fun for me.
My approach to creativity lies in my experiences in life that shape my overall mood and well being.
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
Adam Deitch: My development as an artist is a work on progress. I'm thankful for my team (Regime mgnt.) that helps me facilitate my career.
My personal voice is based on my beliefs and what I truly LOVE to play and listen to. My own personal roux, if you will.
Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.
Adam Deitch: I identify with music that expresses diversity and inclusion. Cross culture collaborations that create new sounds excite me.
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
Adam Deitch: My approach to music and art is to learn from the past masters that you admire and create your own vision that's true to who you are, while honoring those that came before you and influenced your concepts.
How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?
Adam Deitch: I am extremely interested in BOTH the "music of the future" as well as continuing tradition. I believe both can be attained by
A) Studying those that came before you as well as your peers so you are well versed in what has happened prior to your creative vision taking shape, and
B) molding your favorite elements of that tradition and combining it with newer and different elements.
This is the formula for originality that takes place in so many different circumstances and art forms. When the right elements mix in that interesting way, timelessness can be achieved.
Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?
Adam Deitch: As far as being a developing composer, I'd say multi track sequencing has been a useful tool, whether on a keyboard like the ASR 10 or Korg Triton, to cpu programs like Pro Tools which have allowed me to experiment with sounds and combining other instruments in ways I'd only dreamed of.
Digital and analog multitrack home recording techniques are advancing so rapidly its amazing how much we can conceptualize sonically these days from our own homes.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
Adam Deitch: Wake up around 11 in a bunk on a tour bus. Stay in bed and do emails and respond to fan comments on socials. Grab a smoothie and an oatmilk late. Hit soundcheck with Lettuce and create some new grooves. Avocado toast or small meal, Showtime! Head back to bus, set up mini studio in back of bus, make beats till about 420. Sleep.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?
Adam Deitch: On our recent album, a lot of the songs began after I would practice drums in my house.
I'd end up on a drum part that looped over and over. I'd immediately record it on my phone, put it into protocols and start finding a bass part that fits perfectly in a rhythmic yin and yang type of way. Guitar, keyboard and horns will then have to find rhythms that either counteract to the bass and drums or align directly with them.
This is a process that I describe as "foundation first" writing. The song is in essence a house and the foundation will keep it solid for a long time!
Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?
Adam Deitch: There is no wrong form of creativity. Whether it's solo, collaborative, or any combination, it's all an expression of the human spirit.
How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?
Erick "Jesus" Coomes: The role of music in society is the great unifier and connecter. It can transmute energy from negative to positive and move someone from one dimension to another. It can heal you and center you. It can give you the feeling of awe and wonder and at the same time you realize that everything will be alright no matter what.
We have yet to fully realize the depths of it’s true potential or our own.
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?
Ryan Zoidis: I find inspiration and parallels with music and food.
Perfecting the art of an espresso has many similarities to perfecting a horn line that's simple but effective. Honing in on what it takes to achieve perfection is the journey to a good cup of coffee and / or a great horn line.